It’s worth remembering that one of Corbyn’s manifesto pledges in 2019 was free broadband for all. It was heavily criticised as unaffordable yet 4 years later the National Debt has risen by £600 billion with nothing to show for it. Except even higher levels of poverty and ill health.

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Sep 30, 2023Liked by Dan Hayes

Digital poverty - (BTW broadband doesn't have to cot £35 per month) - if it's an important issue, why does it need a private benefactor. Couldn't the providers be persuaded to offer a bulk-purchase for an estate to create a low price and/or fund some pro-bono installations themselves? Some already offer £15 for the first 6 months of a 2-year contract. There is a risk to low-income customers however, failure to pay on a contract can damage credit records.

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Digital exclusion and disenfranchisement has worried me now I support a disabled aging auntie (93) who doesn’t have broadband, WiFi or a Smartphone and a friend (69) who doesn’t understand the technology.

I found that is was sometimes very difficult to get paper application forms from the Council and dealing with Utility Companies (like EDF) impossible.

I therefore support the statements from the people you interviewed who say they cannot properly function in todays Society without Internet connection especially for their Children’s education.

I hope for the people of Southey they get the scheme completed and like others suggest the Government incentivise Giant Internet Companies to provide individual very low cost (low usage) access or “Estate wide WiFi” solutions.

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Nov 4, 2023·edited Nov 4, 2023

Just catching up on this one (linking through from today's Kommune kollapse article).

Wow.. this entire development passed me by completely. I'm not referring to the Southey Green / Dryden Connect initiative - rather the apparent demise of Dave Richards, which came a real shock considering the incredible (prior) success of WanDisco in particular. I appreciate this isn't the core, nor most important part of the story here, but is/was there any explanation of how/why he came to be initially ousted as Chief Exec. of the firm at the time stated here? For such a big Sheffield Success Story it's a shame to see how that has panned out... especially when involved with such great initiatives as those mentioned here on a social/community level.

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That's very simple-minded and shows an appalling disregard for people's situation! Also those contracts would have a high risk of default, creating a loss for the companies. However, it's harder to create a scheme to subsidise a permanent commitment, rather than a one-off.

BTW I'm not convinced many people need the higher speeds on offer, except perhaps for multiple TV streaming.

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David - My father in his 90s was less easily taken-in. When he had phone calls offering broadband, tech support etc. he would talk at length about his record-player (gramophone) - a wind-up in both senses.

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Excellent article, Dan. Good comments too.

Just one point: Rishi Sunak has told the energy companies not to charge poorer people more. I don't know if they're taking any notice.

NB I'm not about to start voting Conservative.

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